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Google Arts & Culture teams up with Lin-Manuel Miranda to digitize P.R.’s heritage

In a new initiative, Google Arts & Culture has teamed up with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Luis Miranda Jr. and a network of museums in Puerto Rico to bring the island’s artworks together online for the first time. 

More than 350 artworks have been posted online, with dozens captured in ultra-high resolution by Google Arts & Culture’s Art Camera, allowing everyone to explore the images down to brush stroke level. This number will grow in the months to come, Google said.

The project will include the digitization of work from new partners to Google Arts & Culture, including the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Ponce Museum of Art. The Puerto Rico Museum of Art, a partner since 2014, will contribute more artwork to the project.

“My family and I have visited the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and all of the museum partners and fell in love with the trove of art available from San Juan to Ponce and everywhere across the island,” said Puerto Rican Playwright and Actor Lin-Manuel Miranda. “Through this project, we hope that the world will get a glimpse of the art treasures of Puerto Rico — and then come visit them in person.”

“Google Arts & Culture aims to be an innovation partner to the cultural center and democratize access to art, making it accessible to anyone, anywhere,” said Simon Delacroix, U.S. lead for Google Arts & Culture.

“Working with the Mirandas and our Puerto Rican partners, this project contributes to that mission, as we take a first step towards sharing these artistic treasures with the world. We hope people feel inspired to learn more about Puerto Rico’s culture,” he said.

The announcement marks the first phase of the digitalization of a selection of pieces that date back centuries, from a trove of more than 40,000 artifacts of great historical and cultural value.

In the case of the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture, the government arts agency responsible for establishing arts and cultural policy with statewide impact, it currently lacks permanent display space for most of its artwork. Therefore, the Art Camera digitization “shines a light on artwork not ordinarily on view to the public, bringing these priceless works of Puerto Rican heritage out from behind closed doors,” Google said.

“To be the custodian of the most important collection of Puerto Rican art is a great undertaking. But to be able to showcase it to the world, is an accomplishment,” said Carlos R. Ruiz-Cortés, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture. “That is why this partnership with Google Arts means so much to us.”

Highlights of the project include The Daughters of Governor Ramón de Castro (1797), one of the best-known works by José Campeche y Jordán, a self-taught artist and one of the greatest 19th century Latin American Painters, and The Judge (1970), a vibrant collograph print by Myrna Báez, one of the most important Puerto Rican painters and printmakers.

Over the coming months, Google Arts & Culture will continue to work with Puerto Rico’s museums to make culture and history available for anyone, anywhere to see, enabling people to connect with iconic works of art and learn and be inspired by their history. 

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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